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Woman: Madigan would have never fired alleged harasser without her going public

Chicago Sun Times

Tuesday, February 13, 2018  |  Article  |  jSun-Times Staff

Sexual Harassment (96) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

A political consultant on Tuesday said House Speaker Mike Madigan would have never fired his top aide, Kevin Quinn, the brother of Ald. Marty Quinn, if she hadn’t gone public with accusations that Kevin Quinn had sent her a series of harassing text messages.


The consultant, Alaina Hampton, held a news conference Tuesday that outlined her complaints against Kevin Quinn and Madigan. Hampton said she had never wanted to go public.


“I asked him to stop seven times. It never stopped,” Hampton told reporters at a Chicago press conference of Kevin Quinn’s repeated text messages. “I feared not responding to my supervisor because I didn’t didn’t want him to tell the speaker or Ald. Quinn that I was not cooperating with my work,” Hampton said. “My first instinct was not to complain about him. It was my last option.”


Hampton read a letter directed at Ald. Quinn (13th), whom she called a mentor. She said telling him about his brother “was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.”


“I know you didn’t choose for this to happen, but you made the choice to protect Kevin instead of me. You have known about this for a year. You allowed people in the organization to believe that I betrayed you by quitting even though I told you I was scared to be at the office.”


Hampton said she was just 23 when she told her about the complaints: “When I told you about your brother, I need you to protect me. I didn’t feel safe. I knew telling you would risk everything I had worked for in my entire career, and I was right,” Hampton said while tearing up.


In a statement before the news conference, the alderman said he took no further action in February 2017 after Hampton complained about his brother, other than to tell Kevin Quinn to stop communicating her.


Hampton, Quinn said in his statement, had “asked for my discretion, and indicated she did not want others to know about the situation, and that Kevin not be further reprimanded. I told her I would make sure he never contacted her again. I told Ms. Hampton she would never need to speak with Kevin again, and that all communications could be directed to me.”


Ald. Quinn’s statement continued: “I did not take further action, such as advising the Speaker, because I was attempting to protect Ms. Hampton’s privacy and honor her wishes. I thought I took swift action and handled the matter as she requested.”


Hampton said she notified Madigan in November. A copy of her letter to the speaker was released at the news conference.


In the letter, she said Kevin Quinn began sending the “inappropriate text messages” in August 2016.


“On several occasions in the span of nearly 6 months, I told him to stop and that I was only interested in having a professional relationship. Since I was helping with the election, I had no choice but to communicate with him to fulfill my role. I was scared that he would tell MQ or you that I was not cooperating if I stopped responding to him.”


After telling Marty Quinn what was going on — “the hardest thing I ever did in my life” — she stopped working with the ward.


“I had hoped Ms. Hampton would continue to work with me,” Ald. Quinn had said in his statement earlier Tuesday, “but I understand her desire to remove herself.”


Hampton said she doesn’t want a job back with the party, “accepting that they weren’t going to protect me and that I was going to lose everything I worked for because a man could not control himself was devastating.”


She’s also hired an attorney to represent her in a discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The statute of limitations have passed on a sexual harassment claim, but the complaint is made on the basis that she was retaliated against for coming forward.


“Seventy-five texts, repeated texts from a supervisor to a woman who is maybe half his age, the instant reaction I would think is, ‘My God, let me get on top of this right away and let’s get this done. Let’s get this resolved. Let’s get you out of this situation and help you and

put him on notice that he has to stop and suffer the consequences.’ Not, ‘we’ll get back to you someday,'” attorney Shelly Kulwin said.


Hampton said that after that February 2017 meeting with Ald. Quinn, the alderman said his brother also would be removed from a supervisory role for women. She said he also asked about her interest in being a precinct captain — which she said was prestigious but meant she would have to work with Kevin Quinn.


Hampton quit in April 2017 because she was distressed by the Democratic Party’s lack of response to her complaint. Her letter to Madigan was mailed on Nov. 1.


“I need you to know the truth about why I left the 13th Ward,” she wrote in the letter to the speaker.


In the letter, Hampton said Kevin Quinn sent her “inappropriate text messages” for about six months and called telling Marty Quinn about “the hardest thing I ever did in my life.”


“He still expected me to work with the ward, but I was too scared,” Hampton wrote in the letter.


Hampton met with Madigan’s attorney, Wier Vaught, on Nov. 15 and provided her with print outs of the text messages. She said she reached out to Ald. Quinn in mid-January about her desire to work for another campaign and instead received a phone call from Wier Vaught.


Hampton on Tuesday claimed other women have come forward about sexual harassment complaints to Wier Vaught, but said she didn’t believe the speaker would have been made aware of the claims. She claimed these women were on the “government side,” and not working with his political operations.


“They were government workers in Springfield, while Heather was the ethics officer,” Hampton said, adding she didn’t believe she was granted a full investigation.


“She would know. She was the ethics officers,” Hampton said of Wier Vaught. Hampton said she didn’t believe the speaker would have known about her claim unless she personally sent a letter to his home.


“I don’t believe that he does. I think I am the only person who has gotten it in front of his face. I worked out of the speakers’ district office so I knew him more personally than most campaign staffers or government workers on his staff. And I knew that If I mailed a letter to his house that he would open it and he would be the only person that would see it.”


Wier Vaught could not be reached for comment on Tuesday morning.


Hampton had run the successful legislative campaign of now State Rep. Julian Stratton, when she defeated State Rep. Ken Dunkin. She said she quit because she was distressed by the Democratic party’s lack of response to her complaint.


She also outlined a loophole in recent in the state regarding sexual harassment claims: “I don’t have an protections as a political worker. I don’t work for the government. I only work on campaigns.”


Hampton’s attorney said Kevin Quinn should have been reprimanded or suspended, pending an investigation, instead of purely fired at the end of an investigation: “There should be an investigation by an independent party, usually an outside law firm to see if there is any truth to it,” Kulwin said. “That’s what every credible organization does, or should do.


Kulwin said women in the workforce should know “this is not acceptable behavior by their employer or the organization they work for.”


“She felt afraid that if she reported it, her career was over. It should be the other way around. He should feel like his career is over the second he hits the send message on the text. You’re done,” Kulwin said. “You send that message, you’re done. That’s how it should be. We need a complete reversal of how things are viewed. The victim should not be the person who is the accused.”